Exploitation of Scented Volatiles and Essential Oil of Mkilua fragrans Verdc. for Livelihood Enhancement Among the Coastal Communities of Kenya
Kiti, Helen M.
Odalo, Josiah O.
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Essential oils and volatiles are complex mixtures of biologically active substances used since time immemorial as flavoring agents and constituents of a number of commercial products. The fragrant plant, Mkilua fragrans Verdc. forms part of a biodiversity of Keny’s coastal forests that has remained under-utilized in a heavily impoverished region. Fragrance from the flowers of the plant have been used for decades alongside Jasminum L. bignoniaceum G. Don to enhance the quality of the scent commonly applied as perfume in weddings and other important ceremonies by Swahili, Digo and Arab women. In this study, essential oils of M. fragrans were extracted by different procedures and quality of fragrance determined by sensory evaluation. The essential oils were extracted from flowers of Mkilua fragrans obtained from Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties by hydro distillation, solvent extraction and effleurage. GC-MS analysis of the extracted oils and volatile compounds from effleurage of fresh Mkilua fragrans flowers revealed the presence of esters (16.70%), ethers (14.11%), alcohols (12.87%) and hydrocarbons (11.62%). Esters were in highest proportions in headspace trapping for the three stages with (36.00%), (40.48%) and (47.47%), respectively and also in cold effleurage (16.8%). These results suggest that sesquiterpenes and esters, contribute greatly to the strong and original scent of Mkilua fragrans. The stability of the extracts varied from 0 to 52% after 30 days exposure to light under room temperature. These findings provide a basis for a chemical formulation that mimics the Mkilua fragrance, which may be exploited in the perfume industry thereby enhancing revenue generation and preservation of the plant.